Back Again … Again: SpaceX’s Dragon Makes Historic 2nd Splashdown

A SpaceX Dragon booster over a International Space Station and splashed down in a Pacific Ocean currently (July 3), finishing a ancestral second tour to a orbiting lab.


The space station’s robotic arm, Canadarm-2, expelled a robotic resupply vessel during 2:41 a.m. EDT (0641 GMT), commencement Dragon’s roughly 5.5-hour tour behind to Earth. That tour finished with a successful alighting in a Pacific Ocean, a few hundred miles southwest of a California coast, SpaceX member said.

“Good splashdown of Dragon reliable — completing initial re-flight of a blurb booster to and from a @Space_Station,” SpaceX announced around Twitter today. [How SpaceX’s Dragon Space Capsule Works (Infographic)]

The load booster was a initial Dragon car to be sent behind into space for a second trip; it also ferried supplies, apparatus and experiments to a space hire in 2014. SpaceX organisation will redeem a booster and packet it behind to Long Beach, Calif. When it arrives, SpaceX will mislay essential load immediately to lapse for NASA research in Houston, NASA officials said in a blog post, and ready a Dragon booster itself to lapse to SpaceX’s exam trickery in McGregor, Texas.

Dragon primarily brought tighten to 6,000 lbs. (2,700 kilograms) to a space station, and it carried some-more than 4,100 lbs. (1,900 kg) of load and experiments behind to Earth for analysis. That cargo includes an examination that complicated a impact of microgravity on fruit flies’ hearts, rodent samples from a exam of an osteoporosis drug and a demeanour during how branch cells conflict to microgravity.

But there’s one square of load Dragon wasn’t carrying: Originally a initial Roll-Out Solar Array (ROSA) was ostensible to be stowed in Dragon’s unpressurized trunk, that would be ejected to bake adult in Earth’s atmosphere. But after a successful week-long exam of a stretchable solar panel, belligerent control was unable to hurl it behind up for storage. So instead, it’s creation a possess approach to eventually bake up.

A belligerent group guided Canadarm-2 to detach a Dragon booster from a station, before NASA astronauts Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson robotically expelled it while watching from the station’s cupola.

SpaceX’s Dragon booster is the usually load craft that can lapse in one square from a space hire — Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft, Russia’s Progress qualification and Japan’s H-11 Transfer Vehicle all bake adult in Earth’s atmosphere on their lapse home.

Fischer, Whitson and Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin spent weeks make-up a Dragon booster before a depart while operative on a station’s scholarship investigations. They are also scheming for a Russian spacewalk entrance after this year by progressing and double-checking a country’s Orlan spacesuits. On Jul 28, a Russian Soyuz booster is scheduled to launch with additional crew.

Editor’s note: This story was updated to simulate that Dragon has splashed down in a Pacific Ocean.

Email Sarah Lewin during slewin@space.com or follow her @SarahExplains. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original essay on Space.com.


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